TLC Community Center: Feeding kids for 18 years
School’s out for the summer…indefinitely
As we reach a summer unlike any other, Angie Odom, founder and director of the TLC Community Center which has served children meals for 18 years, wants everyone to know that the program will continue to feed the boys and girls of Carter County through delivery service. In the past, children could hear the honking of a horn, run out and receive food.
When schools closed in March due to COVID-19, schools began providing meals two days a week (for five days worth of meals), to students. This was through pickup. Schools have already announced continuing this through the month of June.
While Odom appreciates the work schools have done, she noted that by not delivering meals to students, many are not able to receive food due to not having transportation to get it. As a result, she wants the public to know that TLC’s feeding program is still needed.
“A lot of people think that because schools have been providing the food that this isn’t as needed,” she said. “But we, Carter County, are the only county from Johnson County to Knoxville that did not deliver meals to the kids. We have kids without transportation.”
TLC began feeding children earlier this year due to the virus, and did work for a little over three weeks with the schools before the emergency feeding program ended.
Odom said that with the new changes, like social distancing, things have increased in difficulty for the organization. By delivering food to specific addresses, it can sometimes take hours to go a mere few miles, a sharp contrast to the size of Carter County. Likewise, finding supplies of food has proved no easy task either.
Along with these aspects, the organization cannot use their kitchen or have volunteers, etc. that could break guidelines as they fall under the restaurant category.
Along with the difficulties, however, Odom was thankful for what they do have.
The room was filled with boxes of food set to go out to children in need. Something Odom noted was not there a few weeks ago. As she spoke, she awaited a delivery truck from Missouri with food, including peanut butter and raisins. Once it finally arrived, the young driver as well as a sergeant from the National Guard assisted in unloading the boxes of food.
According to Odom, TLC Community Center is already feeding 500 children this year, an increase from an average of 400 last year. She said the program will continue to serve children as long as they can.
Due to the virus, donations like food and clothing cannot be accepted at this time, however monetary donations are welcome. Odom also asked that if anyone has spare freezers or refrigerators, these are needed as well.
Along with food deliveries for children, where they get a week’s worth of food, the organization is also giving out food to anyone who needs it every other Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon as a substitute for Food for the Multitude, which is usually cooked in the center, not doing so during the month of June. This will occur on June 9 and June 23.
If you know a child in need, or would like to make a donation, you can call 423-895-8601.